Maryland Falls 10-5 to UConn, Set for Afternoon Matchup vs. Wake Forest

One night after posting 23 runs against LIU, Maryland baseball was humbled on Saturday night as UConn pulled out a 10-5 win in front of a second consecutive sellout crowd.

With Jason Savacool on the mound for the Terps, the Huskies struck first in the bottom of the first inning after back-to-back home runs gave UConn an early 2-0 lead. Maryland second baseman Kevin Keister cut the deficit in half after a solo shot in the third inning, also extending his home run streak to seven games in the process, before a single from Ian Petrutz in the fifth inning brought in Maxwell Costes in from second base to tie the game at two, but UConn would respond in the bottom half of the fifth inning to retake a 3-2 lead.

Despite Savacool settling in after the first inning, his night ended with five strikeouts after six innings before manager Rob Vaughn turned to Nigel Belgrave out of the bullpen. That decision proved to be a costly one as Belgrave would last just one inning after giving up a three-run shot in the seventh inning, extending UConn’s lead to 6-2 before another pitching change brought on reliever Gavin Stellpflug who promptly gave up four runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Will Glock closed out the inning to set the stage for one final chance heading into the ninth.

Petrutz would give the Terps’ hope in the ninth with a three-run shot that brought in Costes and Bobby Zmarzlak, cutting the lead to 10-5, but that was all the scoring the Terps could muster as three consecutive at-bats ended the game. Maryland will now prepare for a quick turnaround in what now proves to be a crucial Sunday outing for the fate of the 2022 season.

“You know, it’s tough but I told our guys ‘if you don’t believe we can come back through this thing, then don’t show up tomorrow,’ just wasting everybody’s time,” Terps manager Rob Vaughn said after the loss. “We’ve got a resilient group, we’ve got a tough group and when Nick Dean’s on the mound it gives you a fighting chance. We’re going to come back tomorrow morning, we’re going to have a lot of energy, a lot of focus, try to just play good baseball and take it one game at a time.”

Maryland will play Wake Forest at 1 PM on Sunday in an elimination game with the winner set to take on UConn at 7 PM. Maryland would then need to beat UConn a second time to win the College Park Regional, putting the Terps’ magical season on the line.